Tobe Hooper was born in Austin, Texas in 1943. He spent the 60's working as a college professor and documentary cameraman. His first film Eggshells was released in 1969 but it was his second film in 1974 which would make his name and kick off a long and successful career in horror. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was banned in the UK for it's gruesome violence as censors balked at a chainsaw wielding hillbilly carving up teenagers. Made on a small budget, under $100,000, the film made an estimated $36 million at the US box office. It is a tense and manic film which many people consider the scariest movie of all time.
Hooper followed it up with Eaten Alive in 1977 and then Salem's Lot a made for television adaptation of the Stephen King novel which was released in 1979. In 1982 Hooper directed the excellent Poltergeist which was a massive success worldwide but there have been many claims over the years that co-writer and co-producer, Steven Spielberg, was the real creative force behind the film.
In 1985 Lifeforce was released, originally titled Space Vampires the film bombed and consequently Hooper's budget for his remake of Invaders from Mars released in 1986 was slashed. He then made The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 a darkly comic and extremely gory romp which displeased fans of the first film but has since become a cult classic.
In the late 80's Hooper directed some television and then in 1990 he released the bizarre Spontaneous Combustion. His output has continued to be fairly prolific but he has made some terrible films, Night Terrors in 1993, The Mangler in 1995 and Crocodile in 2000 were all poor. The Toolbox Murders in 2003 was generally considered to be a return to form and it was well received. However his latest film release was the 2005 film Mortuary which got mixed reviews.
Hooper has had his problems over the years, he was fired from two films early in his career and turned down the chance to direct E.T., although he ended up doing Poltergeist instead. Despite a few dodgy releases Hooper is clearly a very talented director. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is his masterpiece but he has made other great films. He is currently working on a new project.
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